Candace Nelson: Sweet Success with Cupcakes

| April 15, 2009 | 13 Comments

Sometimes success can be found only after changing career directions.

Candace Nelson was a former investment banker who realized, after losing her job in the dot-com bust, that her life’s passion is baking. Candace then traded her suits to a baker’s uniform and found culinary success with her cupcakes.

Candace came from a long line of cooks. Her great grandmother was renowned in the 1930s for the distinctive desserts she created in her San Francisco restaurant. So she went to a pastry school to further her hone her skills.

After graduation, Candace decided to start a business creating show-stopping custom cakes from her kitchen. However, she realized that three tier cakes are more of event cakes and she wanted her creations to be enjoyed as often as possible. She pared down her creations, and inspired by the cupcake bakeries in New York, decided to create tasty cupcakes.


In 2005, Candace first opened her cupcake bakery that she called Sprinkles in Beverly Hills, California. Her cupcakes, based on her own recipes, were an immediate hit. During their first few days of operation, her bakery sold out its inventory hours before the scheduled closing time. Soon Sprinkles was selling 1,000 cupcakes a day, with lines going around the block.

Her cupcakes have since been featured in shows like Oprah, Good Morning America, Today Show, even in Entourage. She has since opened 7 other Sprinkles bakeries in CA, TX and AZ areas, Plans are afoot to expand and open more stores in areas such as Washington DC, Miami, New York, and even Tokyo.

Check out Candace’s fabulous cupcakes in her website Sprinkles.com http://www.sprinkles.com/

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About the Author ()

Isabel Isidro is the editor of WomenHomeBusiness.com. She also writes for PowerHomeBiz.com and Learning from Big Boys .

Comments (13)

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  1. Hi there, such a simple and inspirational story of going from a high powered corporate role to literally starting again behind the kitchen sink. To a lot of people their identity would be wrapped up in the ego and image of the previous role and fear of what people would have thought could easily have stopped them pursuing their passion. I know that held me back for a while but now I think what a waste of my talent and offering to others by not pursuing my own dream, especially for women (and cool guys too ) in business who want to become more marketing savvy offline and online, without it cosing them a fortune. Well done and once again it shows that passion and purpose pays off!

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  2. I find her story extremely inspiring and I think the brand identity and promotional strategy of Sprinkles has been profoundly successful. It was brilliant. Retro mod-chic is what I call the style and the designs are simple, clean, and streamlined in all areas of branding (packaging, look of the cupcakes including the signature sugar dot in the center, colors)

    However, I often hear of a lot of success stories like these that involve people switching over or coming from very successful careers that were fiscally lucrative, even if job loss or layoffs were involved. These high-paying careers allowed for building of savings, cultivation of assets and so much more, that funding for a bakery could be seamless, if one just had the right multimillion dollar idea. Plus, Candace came in at the right time when the cupcake craze had just begun. Cupcakes had been around but New York was where it blew up compliments to Sex and the City and Magnolia Bakery. LA just needed someone to come in and establish that craze locally.

    The average would-be bakeshop owner is not coming from such an advantageous position. In today’s economy, it is harder than ever to make a living, and having the funds to pursue one’s dream is everything. You definitely have to have money to make money. That’s reality. One that so many increasingly feel the sting of.

    Banks aren’t giving out loans so readily as they used to and grants are rare to come by when looking to open and launch a food business.

    I know because I am in this position now, trying to launch my own bakery which I’ve work on conceptually for a year now. I have all of my ideas, menu, concepts and the like ready to go, but my dilemma is not enough funds to push through. I’ve worked in graphic design/illustration for a little while, but I am no longtime veteran who has the funds to switch over career-wise and open a bakery right in the heart of an affluent area, to start. I also don’t have any help from a husband in a DINK setup.

    I’d love to also see success stories by people who really have struggled to find the funds for their business dreams. This is something I feel most people can relate to more, although that doesn’t make stories such as these any less inspiring.

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  11. Fatah says:

    From Banker to Baker. Amazing!

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